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Nice backgrounds without the silhouette ...
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doughboy


Apr 27, 2003, 10:55 PM
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Nice backgrounds without the silhouette ...
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Hello all,

I have a problem, and that is that I am well and truly over the silhouette in climbing photography. Take my photo at ...
http://www.rockclimbing.com/photos.php?Action=Show&PhotoID=13192
... as a good example of what I am talking about.

Now, for the record, I'm NOT a huge fan of this picture for two reasons
(i) It's not sharp (instant camera scanned on a cheap scanner), and
(ii), it's a silhouette.
Subject matter and background light I'm very happy with though.

My question is:
How can I achieve the background colours that you get my shooting directly into the low light of an obscured or setting sun, without forcing every climbing pic into a silhouette ?
Can it be done ? (I haven't seen (m)any examples)

PS Manually constructing composite photos in photoshop does not count.


psych


Apr 27, 2003, 11:15 PM
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"PS Manually constructing composite photos in photoshop does not count."

Blast! (Though it would work...tripod the camera, and get the climber to...uhh....hang in there a bit longer. And try not to move.

I'm actually curious myself, I've got numerous non-climbing pictures that I'd like to see some foreground but keep the sky as it is. Matrix metering, no matter how good, is not going to somehow magically give you two seperate light readings for each half of the picture (though that'd be nice).

Mike...


yotrepo


Apr 28, 2003, 12:28 AM
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Graduated neutral density filters. I've never used one, but they are the secret to Galen Rowell's (R.I.P.) amazing pics. The filters allow you to expose different areas of your photo up to three stops apart, over exposing dark areas, while keeping normal light as is (or vice versa for bright areas). If you go to Mr. Rowell's Mountainlight gallery home page (still up and running), you can purchase these.
Has anybody used these? I would love to know how well they work...
...You can always use a flash, too.
--Peter


dirko


Apr 28, 2003, 1:48 AM
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Don't filter it, flash it. A filter will help expose land vs. sky for a beautiful sunset, but you will have trouble finding a filter with the shape of a climber in the middle of it.

Instead, just use the flash with your camera. Meter the light for the background, set your camera accordingly, and shoot your pic w/ flash at your climber. He/she will be illuminated, and you won't lose the scenery behind them. Good luck.


kriso9tails


Apr 29, 2003, 12:11 AM
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In reply to:
Has anybody used these? I would love to know how well they work...
...You can always use a flash, too.

Yes, and as stated before, it's not so appropriate for this shot specifically. You could use flash... but I suppose that depends on where you're shooting from, and the shillouette is better than a hot flash.

I could do it for black and white, but I'm not sure the same would apply so well to colour.


koto


Apr 29, 2003, 4:54 AM
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pm climbnow1, if he doesn't know, then no one on this site will.


dirko


Apr 29, 2003, 5:51 AM
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The problem with camera film is that the range of light that it can capture is significantly less than that of your own eye. For example, suppose you are looking out the window of your room as you read this. You can clearly see objects inside and outside. Assuming that it is daytime, the light outside will be much brighter. Taking a picture from your desk, if you exposed for the light outside the window, everything in your room would be black on the film. Conversely, if you exposed for something in your room, the window would be a white box on your film. To capture well-exposed subjects in and outside of your room, you need to illuminate your room, darken the outside, or wait for the light in both places to become equal. The fact that the latter rarely happens doesn't mean that you are SOL, it is the plight of all photographers. This can be a problem if you want to catch people with a sunset in the background. Think about which side of that person will be light--their back, right? Thus to properly expose a person w/ background at dusk or dawn, you should shoot away from the sun. Or you could always just chuck the camera and take up pottery. Hope this helped, good luck.


krillen


Apr 29, 2003, 4:07 PM
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Fill flash if you can, Gradauted Neutral Density Filters work pretty good if you can line them up properly. Maybe a combo of both?


dsafanda


Apr 29, 2003, 4:44 PM
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There's another obvious approach that no one has mentioned. Well actually a couple people touched on it briefly. Instead of focusing on technical methods for improving the same shots you normally take, you might want to change your approach to composition. If you're taking a lot of photos that you're unhappy with because of the dark foregrounds, make a point of searching for new angles and moments in time when the foreground is catching light. Stop shooting figures that are in shadows if you don't want them that way. I know it seems like an obvious statement. I'm not trying to be a smart ass. We all get in ruts occasionaly where by habit we keep seeking out the same type of scenes and compositions that we've shot a million times. Sometimes, just moving a few feet left or right or shooting and hour or two earlier or later can make all the difference in the world. I wouldn't go out with the intention of taking fill flash shots. It's a nice trick to have in your bag but you're better off letting natural light create the magic for you. My $.02.


extrememountaineer


Apr 29, 2003, 4:49 PM
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Fill-in flash works the best. I also use a Vivitar 85 flash that has a dial to adjust the power of the flash to 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, or full. 1/4 is perfect for lighting up the climber just enough to look like natural light and still leaving the background exposed well.

Graduated density filters are good as long as you can blend it in. I have a filter holder that spins on my lense so if the "horizon line" is at an angle I can just spin the holder to match the angle.


pbjosh


Apr 29, 2003, 4:51 PM
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I agree with everyone else - graduated filters are fine if you can align them with a straight line. Your climber shot wouldn't work at all for this. Which brings you to fill flash - get a good flash for your camera (not an instant, obviously, and probably not the built in on the camera), but if I had to guess how far away the camera was from the subject in that shot and how much rock you're trying to illuminate, fill flash could be hard to make work!


doughboy


Apr 30, 2003, 5:05 PM
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dsafanda - The trouble being that I haven't been able to achieve the same lighting effects (i.e. the nice purple and orange stuff) WITHOUT shooting straight into the sun ... I think maybe I need a fill flash for my camera though, sounds like quite a good option ... thanks all for your replies, much appreciated


kalcario


Apr 30, 2003, 5:26 PM
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Take 2 pictures, one of the shaded foreground slightly over exposed, one of the sunlit background slightly under exposed. Put them together in Photoshop and pixel-clone any flaws. You wanna dick around with filters and flash fill or climb?


jakedatc


Apr 30, 2003, 9:20 PM
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This is somewhat redundant .. and away from my photo style because i have tons of fun with silhouettes and shooting straight at the sun

Fill flash is good and it should keep most of your background colors
also depending on how close you are to the subject.. get something reflective and bounce some natural light in there from off camera (even a white poster board will work)

Jake

ps i think that pic is sweet and silhouettes are usually pretty dramatic by nature so keeping some of them is good


pbjosh


Apr 30, 2003, 11:41 PM
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In reply to:
You wanna dick around with filters and flash fill or climb?

No offense but I just have to add:

You wanna dick around on your computer or be a photographer? Besides, I don't think that I will ever be satisfied with a greatly photoshopped shot - it's like cheating to me. Correcting my shoe in the picture or erasing a tick mark or whatever is one thing, but massive saturation correction, stitching multiple photos, etc - why not just take the right picture the first time? Is photography a lost art? I certainly enjoy the challenge, I bought a camera to learn how to use it not to learn to use photoshop. I guess that's what I'm trying to say. But that's all just my opinion not trying to be rude or start a war :)

josh


dirko


May 1, 2003, 6:50 AM
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Now that darkrooms are obsolete, Photoshop is the life and blood of photography. I don't think you can talk down on PS like that. It's only a tool--you could also create fundamentally different image by altering an enlarger's controls.

Note: This is not a flame, just my $0.02.

I still shoot film, but all my editing now takes place on PS. I would have to say that I think removing ticks or feet or anything else from a pic creates something that is not a photograph anymore. An illustration perhaps, but something that is not as real to me. The whole appeal of photography in my eyes is to show that real, raw life is art, and to show the beauty that lies in that reality. I don't mind curves or levels or any of that because film inherenlty distorts an image, and some correction is required. I feel that changing a shot's composition, however, makes a statement about an impossible reality, and while I am not offended by such actions, I just don't see the need to go down that path myself.

That said, I still advocate flash in the use of your photo. If you have an SLR or nice digital camera, the fill flash will have a brain and be able to release a power sufficient to expose the subject at a given distance without interfering with the background. I think that most photographers would do well to buy a flash before they buy a second lens.


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